Wednesday, June 15, 2005

What says 'Pagan Studies' to you?

Now that my editor has the latest revision of Her Hidden Children on his desk, he is finally ready to talk about cover designs. But what kind of cover is right for a Pagan Studies book?

Designers seem to go one of these ways:

1. A standing stone, as in Michael York's Pagan Theology.

2. A crowd of Pagans, as in the one edition of Drawing Down the Moon that showed a festival at the Stonehenge replica in Washington state, or as in Researching Paganisms, on the right of your screen.

3. A flowing-haired young female Witch with sword or athame, as on Susan Greenwood's Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld, not to mention quite a few others.

4. A close-up photo: Greenwood's Nature of Magic got a much better photographic treatment.

5. A row of cryptic symbols that are not explained, as on Graham Harvey's and my The Paganism Reader, which apparently signifies spiritual diversity.

6. A Pagan-looking illustration, as in Wendy Griffin's anthology Daughters of the Goddess.

7. A tree, something like the oak on the Pagan Studies consultation site.

8. About twenty years ago, I self-published a collection called Nine Apples: A Neopagan Anthology (sorry, no Web link). Its cover was a photographic still life: a stoneware chalice, a gleaming athame, and nine apples, one sliced to show the "star". I still like it, but perhaps it is a little too static.

9. A shot of the Moon amid ragged clouds--but my editor does not wish to make an association to the Llewellyn Publications logo!

At least it's fun to brainstorm this one.


Anonymous Jason Pitzl-Waters said...

Maybe a montage of old photos from the early stirrings of American Paganism?

4:21 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

Not a bad idea, Jason, but I could foresee some problems around

1. image quality and

2. permissions. And some of the people whom I discuss are gone, of course.

People used to be very wary of having their pictures taken, unless they were public Witches on the order of Sybil Leek or Gavin Frost.

It would be fun, though, to rummage through Hans Holzer's photo albums.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous David Pollard said...

Perhaps a picture of one of the items in Sabina Magliocco's NeoPagan art book?

9:13 AM  
Blogger Trystan said...

i googled "Pagan Studies" to try to get an inspiration, and found nothing.

for me, a person (man or woman) who is standing in the wind (which is hard to depict in a still picture) looking over either plains or a forest, wind in their hair, looking very serene, and maybe Pagan images or symbols thoughtout the picture. the Pagan in the picture would have a very calm, serene look, at peace with the surroundings on his/her face. maybe it could be a man and a woman.

i tried to look at the link you posted for Susan Greenwood's Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld, but the link wouldn't load for me.

that's just my thoughts on brief notice.

~ Trys

8:31 AM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...


You're right: Berg's web site is not loading for me either.

thanks for your suggestion; thanks also to David Pollard.


8:55 AM  
Anonymous rosewood said...

Yes, as Trystan wrote, the genderless/raceless/classless person shape in the wind at the top of a bare hill, looking over a forest. And perhaps with a tree near by. yes. Could be a drawing or a photo.

A standing stone or a person with an athame, or a close up of a face--it sounded good when I read the description, but then when I saw the cover, it looked lame.

the symbols aren't interesting enough.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Therese said...

Interesting to stumble across this discussion.. I always thought pagan, especially wiccan, books had covers ranging from 'bad' to 'awful'. The quality was heightened as soon as people started using photograps instead of badly, badly drawn pictures that looked as if they were picked off a teenage-girls' room.... But still, covers tend to be verty romantic, in its portraying of 'postcard-nature' or 'spiritually looking' people. But of course, its beautiful, and maybe that's enough?

Here's a cover I'd like to get a comment on. It's from the norwegian translation of Vivianne's 'Wicca'.

4:59 AM  

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